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Best toys for 9-month-olds

From shape sorters and wooden puzzles to baby walkers and ball pits, these are the best toys for babies aged nine months and above.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Jan 17, 2023

mum and baby playing with toys

By nine months old, life with your baby will probably be getting a bit busier. They will likely be more interested in exploring the world around them and they’re at an age where they start to become more mobile by crawling, pulling themselves up to stand and maybe even taking their first steps (check out our guide to the best baby walkers for help there).

They will become more curious about objects around them, with most of these often ending up in their mouth! They also develop their own language – even if it’s only you that can understand it – and become more interested in interacting with toys, whether that's in their playpen or they're in the tub with the best bath toys. When shopping for a toy for this age, it’s useful to think about which age-appropriate offering will catch your child’s attention and aid their development too, including their language and fine motor skills. 

To work out the best toys for nine-month-olds that are both fun and educational, we searched the Mumsnet forums – the biggest online network of parents in the UK – to see which ones parents, i.e. the real experts, recommend as top buys after months (and maybe even years) of trial and error. We then compared these to other expert review sites to help us whittle down our list of recommendations. For added parenting peace of mind, be sure to visit our guide to the best baby thermometers as well.

While many of our recommendations are for the best toys for nine-12 month-old babies, we've also included some of the best toys recommended for older babies aged 12 months-plus as we believe they are safe and appealing for a nine-month-old.

From shape sorters to baby walkers, here are the 15 best toys for nine-month-olds, covering a range of budgets and interests.

1. Best overall toy for 9-month olds: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise

Fisher-Price cookie jar shape sorter

Price on writing: £18 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Recommended age: 6-36 months | Batteries: 3x AA

What we love

  • Encourages reaching and grasping 
  • Helps children to learn about shapes, numbers and colours
  • Plays catchy songs, phrases and sounds

What to know

  • Some users found that the sounds don’t always tally up with the correct shape 

What Mumsnet users say

“My sister is getting [my daughter] the cookie pot shape sorter.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Burgerqueenbee)

“My son is nine months but he has loved his… Fisher-Price cookie jar shape sorter.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user LavenderBlue95)

Our verdict

With catchy songs, sounds, colourful shapes and numbers, the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Sorter has plenty to offer when it comes to learning through play.

It encourages your baby to reach and grasp the shapes, putting them inside the jar and taking them out again, which helps them to develop hand-eye coordination. The five cookies match a slot in the jar so that they can also learn about shapes, numbers and colours. 

The cookie jar senses when something is placed inside it and plays catchy songs, fun sounds and phrases to make learning extra enjoyable. This Mumsnet favourite also features on our dedicated page for the best baby toys for 6-12 month old babies too.

2. Best budget toy for 9-month-olds: LAMAZE Pile and Play Stacking Cups

LAMAZE Stacking Cups

Price on writing: £6.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 6 months+ | Batteries: No

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Versatile and lightweight for travel
  • Numbers on the bottom encourage early math play
  • Can be played with in the bath too

What to know

  • Some users report that the cups are quite small, so may not hold much water in the bath

What Mumsnet users say

“Stacking cups. We had a set with holes in the bases that doubled as bath toys.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user gigglingHyena)

Our verdict

A classic baby toy, you can’t go wrong with a set of stacking cups. Colourful, versatile and easy to pop in a bag for entertaining on the go, your nine-month-old will have endless fun fitting them together, stacking the cups up and knocking them over. They are also ideal for playing with both in the bath and on their best baby play mat, making them a simple but versatile choice.

The eight cups by LAMAZE are also great for playing hide and seek with, banging together and identifying different colours. With numbers written on the bottom, the cups can help your child to practice counting and recognise numbers as they get older too. 

3. Best outdoor toy for 9-month-olds: Hedstrom Folding Toddler Swing

Hedstrom Toddler Swing

Price on writing: £37.99 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Recommended age: 6-36 months | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Easy to clean
  • Can be folded up for storage
  • High back support and strap for safe play
  • Compact to fit gardens of varying sizes

What to know

  • Some users found their children grew out of it quickly

Our verdict

The Hedstrom Folding Toddler Swing brings all the fun of a playground to your garden. Suitable from six months, your baby will love being pushed on the swing for some beneficial outdoor play.

The seat has a high back support - made from fabric that can be easily washed – and comes with a strap to securely hold your baby in place. The ropes can be adjusted to fit a child up to age of 36 months, but it’s worth noting that some users found their babies grew out of it before then. 

Made from UV-resistant materials and with a sturdy steel frame, the swing will provide plenty of outdoor fun come rain or shine. But if you do want to store it away, the swing can be quickly folded up. It can also be used indoors if your baby has outgrown the best baby bouncer and you're looking for a replacement - just make sure it’s properly weighted down for safety.

4. Best baby walker for 9-month-olds: VTech First Steps Baby Walker

VTech First Steps Baby Walker

Price on writing: £35 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Recommended age: 6-30 months | Batteries: 3x AA

What we love

  • 2-in-1 walker and activity centre
  • Removable activity panel 
  • Host of fun features

What to know

  • Some users found the wheels moved too quickly on wooden flooring
  • NHS advises that walkers should only be used for 20 minutes at a time 

What Mumsnet users say

“He enjoys the VTech Walker - they’re always for sale on Facebook Marketplace.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user LemonLemonLemon)

“At nine months, I'd think about a walker. The VTech sort…” (Recommended by Mumsnetter Bikingbear)

Our verdict

The VTech First Steps Baby Walker isn’t just the best baby walker, but it’s also an activity toy too, so there’s plenty to keep your child busy even when they’re sitting down.

When they’re not pushing the walker around, your baby can play with the removable activity panel which has a host of fun features including light-up buttons, a shape sorter, animal buttons and a play phone to encourage pretend play and aid their physical development. There’s also fun music to help them learn numbers, words, shapes and animals.

Suitable from six months and available in two colourways, the VTech First Steps Baby Walker will provide plenty of fun for your baby as they learn to take their first steps – and long after too. Do bear in mind though that the NHS advises that babies should only use a walker for up to 20 minutes at a time as it may delay walking if they use it too much.

5. Best sensory toy for 9-month-olds: Chad Valley Stacking Ball Drop

Chad Valley Stacking Ball Drop

Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Recommended age: 12 months+ according to manufacturer, but we’d recommend from 9 months with careful supervision | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Helps to improve hand-eye coordination
  • Balls rattle as they move
  • Slide can be stacked in different order and size
  • Helps with colour recognition

What to know

  • Nothing to stop the ball from rolling off at the bottom

What Mumsnet users say

“He likes putting toy cars down the ramp of his brother’s toy garage, so maybe some kind of marble run, but approximately sized for a baby obviously.” (Style of toy recommended by Mumsnet user Sohoso)

Our verdict

With balls that rattle and a colourful slide, the Chad Valley Stacking Ball Drop is great for sensory play and helps your child to develop their hand-eye coordination. It also has detachable sections, and the slide can be easily dismantled and stacked together in whatever order or size your child chooses.

Similar to a marble run but for babies, they can enjoy putting the balls at the top of the slide and watching them roll down, rattling as they move. The three balls are fun to play with on their own too, whether it’s rolling them on the floor, throwing them or hitting them together. No wonder it's one of the best sensory toys for babies.

6. Best bath toy for 9-month-olds: Nuby Fun Watering Can

Nuby Watering Can

Price on writing: £5.50 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 6 months+ | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Aids hand-eye coordination
  • Small and lightweight for little hands
  • Can be used for playing with in the bath or in the garden

What to know

  • Some users found the water doesn’t drain out completely 

What Mumsnet users say

“Bath watering can.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Burgerqueenbee)

Our verdict

If your baby loves splashing about at bathtime, they’ll enjoy filling up the Nuby Fun Watering Can and watching the water pour out. This toy isn’t just for bathtime though - it can be used for water play in the garden too. The watering can helps to develop hand-eye coordination as they fill it up with water and then tip the spout to pour it out. 

Lightweight and small, it’s easy for little hands to hold and the fun, vibrant design will make this toy a hit no matter when or where it’s used. Bath toys are also a fantastic way to distract your baby while you wash them too, making life that little bit easier (our selection of the best baby shampoo and body wash has plenty of options ideal for little ones).

7. Best educational toy for 9-month-olds: TOMY Toomies Hide and Squeak Eggs

TOMY Hide and Squeak Eggs

Price on writing: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 6 months+ | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Helps children learn about colours and shapes
  • Each egg chirps for sensory fun

What to know

  • Some users have found the shell comes off the top of the egg 

What Mumsnet users say

“Those plastic egg-shaped organisers. They are plastic eggs in a carton and my son was obsessed with them at nine months and is still obsessed now at nearly 14 months.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MichelleOR84)

“Stacking cups and the TOMY Hide and Squeak Eggs.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user AllTheCakes

Our verdict

 The Toomies Hide and Squeak Eggs are a hit with babies and toddlers and are highly recommended by Mumsnet parents.

The six coloured eggs come in a carton and they each have different facial expressions that babies will enjoy. Crack them open and play hide and seek, matching them up to the correct colours and shape to locate the egg’s spot in the carton. 

Each egg chirps when pressed too, so there’s lots of sensory fun to be had. It’s not a bad price either for a toy that will likely be played with again and again. 

Read next: If your baby is a little younger, our guide to the best toys for newborns has plenty of parent-approved recommendations, suitable for use from birth.

8. Best musical toy for 9-month-olds: Halilit Baby Band

Halilit Baby Band

Price on writing: £18.99 | Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

Key specs

Recommended age: 6 months+ | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Fun, colourful instruments 
  • Make different sounds
  • Helps aid physical development
  • Designed for small hands

What to know

  • It will be noisy!

What Mumsnet users say

“Halilit musical instruments have been very much loved here.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user OrangeSwoosh)

Our verdict

The Halilit My First Baby Band has been designed for small hands, featuring a rainboshaker, baby maraca, clip clap and cage bell. These super fun musical instruments can help strengthen your baby's muscles and enhance hand-eye coordination. 

Young musicians can shake, rattle and roll the four fun instruments using their hands and kicking their feet to make the different sounds. 

The instruments are small and colourful, with different coloured beads inside. This set is a great introduction to musical play that they can play with independently or you can invite some of their friends over and form a band!

9. Best ride-on toy for 9-month-olds: Little Tikes 4-in-1 My First Trike

Little Tikes 4-in-1 Trike

Price on writing: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 9 months to 5 years | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Can be used from nine months to five years
  • Adapts as your baby grows
  • Can be used as a pram replacement for shorter trips
  • Handy storage basket

What to know

  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say

“My nine-month-old son has always been a pushchair/sling/baby carrier refuser, and last month someone recommended I buy him a trike, which I did and he absolutely loves it. It has literally changed my life in that I can leave the house and go for a walk for longer than 10 minutes without him having a meltdown.” (Type of toy recommended by Mumsnet user ReySky)

Our verdict

Suitable for use up to the age of five, the Little Tikes 4-in-1 My First Trike could be a worthy investment. Mumsnetters find it useful for school runs and walks to the park, and your child will love being able to see the world from outside of their pushchair. The trike grows with your child so from the age of nine months parents can push the trike using the handle with a waist bar and harness to hold them in place.

On sunny (or even rainy) days, the adjustable canopy protects their head and a fold-up footrest can be used until their legs can reach the pedals. The storage basket is also handy for trips out. Then, from about 18 months, your child can try pedalling themselves while you push and, by around 30 months, the bar can be removed so they can ride and steer themselves. 

10. Best toy for active 9-month-olds: Kid Active My First Pop Up Ball Pit

Kidactive ball pit

Price on writing: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 6 months+ | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Pop-up ball pit for easy storage
  • Comes with 30 colourful balls and sensory beanbags
  • Aids physical development, including grip and colour recognition

What to know

  • You will need ample space in your home or garden

What Mumsnet users say

“A playpen/ball pit as he loves the ball pits when we're out.” (Type of toy recommended by Mumsnet user PlanBea)

Our verdict

For more active babies, bring all the fun of soft play to your home with the Kid Active My First Pop Up Ball Pit. The ball pit is great for aiding physical development and it pops up and down easily, so it can be used inside your home or out in the garden.

The animal-themed ball pit comes with 30 colourful balls and three sensory bean bags that jingle, crinkle and squeak to stimulate the senses. It also has a peek-a-boo mesh window on the side and ball holes for hours of fun. 

Read next: As they get older, a baby's first milk teeth will start to come though - luckily we've thoroughly researched what's on offer to find the best baby toothbrush, as recommended by parents.

11. Best wooden toy for 9-month-olds: Galt Pop-up Toy

Galt Pop Up Toy

Price on writing: £9.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 12 months+ according to the manufacturer, but we would recommend from nine months with careful supervision | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Durable, non-plastic toy
  • Perfect size for little hands
  • Helps to develop fine motor skills

What to know

  • Due to material and shape, these may not be suitable for your baby to put in their mouth

What Mumsnet users say

The pop-up wooden toy, with four little coloured peg figures in holes, is brilliant. My daughters had one, and grandchildren have almost exactly the same. I think it’s Galt - and no plastic!” (Vetted by Mumsnet user GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER)

Our verdict

If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of plastic in your home, the Galt Pop-Up Toy will make a good addition to your baby’s toy collection.

The four wooden characters pop up and down on concealed springs and can be taken in and out to play with. Each character is different so your child can learn about colours and have fun identifying the correct slot for each peg. Perfectly sized for little hands, this toy also helps to develop fine motor skills. 

12. Best book for 9-month-olds: Nosy Crow Where’s Mr Duck?

Where's My Duck? flap book

Price on writing: £4 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: Not specified | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Felt flaps that don’t tear easily
  • Helps children to learn about animals
  • A mirror on the final page so they can see their own face
  • Choose from a range of different stories

What to know

  • Story may be too basic for toddlers 

What Mumsnet users say

“My nine-month-old daughter has loved the lift-the-flap and pop-up books for quite a while now. There are some lovely felt ones by Nosy Crow that stand up well to being pulled and yanked!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Celebelly)

Our verdict

Where’s Mr Duck? is part of the Felt Flaps series of bestselling board books, written and illustrated by Ingela P Arrhenius. With fun flaps and cute animals, these books are ideal for reading with your child, whether during the day or when winding down for bed.   

The colourful board book has felt flaps - so they don’t tear easily - revealing a series of pond animals on every page. And, at the end of the story, the final flap reveals a mirror so they can see and marvel at their own face and facial features.

Lift-the-flap books are a great way of introducing children to the joy of books and there are plenty of stories to choose from in this series, including Where’s Mr Lion? and Where’s Mr Dog?

Read next: We've carefully selected the best tummy time toys to aid your baby's development through play.

13. Best pretend play toy for 9-month-olds: LeapFrog Picnic Basket

Leapfrog Picnic Basket

Price on writing: £24.99 | Buy now from Very

Key specs

Recommended age: 6-36 months | Batteries: 3x AA

What we love

  • Encourages role play
  • Aids colour and shape recognition
  • Interactive toy that makes learning fun 

What to know

  • Cups have holes in so they can’t hold any water

What Mumsnet users say

“At that age mine got a LeapFrog picnic basket that was played with until she was about five!” (Vetted by Mumsnet user PenguinErector

Our verdict

The LeapFrog Picnic Basket is not only great for encouraging pretend play, but with different shaped food, such as a watermelon triangle and an orange circle, your child can learn about shapes and colours as they play.

Lay out the blanket, some plates and yummy food, and you can enjoy a picnic for two with your little one. 

The interactive basket requests food and encourages your child to sort the pieces into the right shapes. It also plays sound effects and songs to help them learn – but be warned, they may get stuck in your head!  

14. Best puzzle for 9-month-olds: Melissa and Doug First Play Wooden Puzzle

Melissa and Doug wooden puzzle

Price on writing: £12.98 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 12 months | Batteries: None

What we love

  • Chunky pieces so the animals can be stood up
  • Lovely, colourful wood
  • Cute illustrations
  • Aids physical and sensory development

What to know

  • Knobs on the pieces may have made them easier to pick up 

What Mumsnet users say

“Easy wooden puzzles - fitting simple shapes into a board.” (Type of toy recommended by Mumsnet user Starlight36)

Our verdict

Introduce your child to puzzles with this gorgeous Melissa and Doug First Play Wooden Puzzle. The animal pieces – a cute kitten, puppy, rabbit and bird – are chunky for little hands to grip and also to stand up as figures.

Puzzles can help to promote sensory development and fine motor skills – and Melissa and Doug toys always go down well with Mumsnet users too. The animals feel furry and under each piece is a matching illustration so your child can identify the right slot. In the middle of the board is a child-friendly mirror so they can see their own reflection too, adding to the sensory fun.  

15. Best interactive toy for 9-month-olds: Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth

Fisher-Price Linkimals

Price on writing: £24.85 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Recommended age: 9 months+ | Batteries: 4x AA

What we love

  • Cute sloth dances along to music
  • Plays songs about the alphabet, numbers and colours.
  • Can be linked up to other Linkimals toys for even more music and lights

What to know

  • Pricey  

Our verdict

With fun lights, playful songs and funny dance moves, the Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth will keep your child entertained and have them dancing and giggling along with him. 

Press the button on the sloth’s foot to hear songs and phrases for learning the alphabet, numbers, opposites and colours, and watch as he claps his hands and bobs his head to the music. He also has colourful lights on his belly and his arms are soft for playing with. 

If you know another child who has a Linkimals toy, you can bring them together to play a synchronised music and light show. 

Read next: Keep your little one's nails neat to avoid accidental scratches while they play – the best baby nail clippers can help with this.

Baby development milestones at 9 months old  

It’s important to remember that babies develop at their own pace. While one may be already tottering around, another may be just learning to crawl, so try not to compare your baby to others. However, there are some development milestones you can start to look for at this age.

Social and emotional 

  • They may become clingy and cry when you leave the room
  •  Imitate during play
  • Become afraid of strangers
  • Show frustration when they can’t do everything they want
  • Have favourite toys they reach for

Movement and physical  

  • Crawling (although some babies may go straight to walking)
  • Standing while holding onto something
  • Pulling up to stand and sitting
  • Trying to lean forward and reach for toys

Language and communication 

  • Developing their own language (babbling) and trying to copy sounds and movements
  • Start using gestures to communicate, such as pointing at objects
  • Responding to the sound of familiar objects and names
  • Starts understanding commonly used words such as ‘no’ and ‘bye bye’
  • Recognising their own name
  • Follow some routine commands

Cognitive

  • Examining things using their hands and mouth
  • Turning the pages of a book 
  • Investigating shapes, sizes and textures
  • Playing peek-a-boo and looking for hidden objects
  • Learning about cause and effect
  • Moving objects from one hand to another 
  • Using a pincer grip to pick up small things

Read next: Don't miss our pick of the best baby nasal aspirator to help babies and toddlers breathe clearly

How do I choose the best toy for a 9-month-old? 

Safety 

As babies at this age still use their mouths to explore, make sure the toy has no small parts that can easily come loose. Also check if the toy itself is big enough to fit in their mouth. Toys with magnetic objects and small button batteries should be avoided.

Age-appropriate

Check which age the toy is suitable for – think about whether it will aid their development and if they will be able to play with it alone or if they’ll need help. While you may intend to play with it together, if the toy is too advanced for them it’s not going to get much use.

Development 

As this is an age where they are making lots of physical developments, you may want to look for toys that encourage movement and help to build your child muscles and strength. Also look out for toys that encourage sensory play so they can explore different textures, sounds and colours.

Materials

Toys at this age tend to be made from plastic or wood. Consider how the toy will be played with, if it’s safe to put in their mouth and if it’s easy to clean.  

What is the best toy for a 9-month-old? 

With catchy songs, sounds, colourful shapes and numbers, the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise has it all. This is a toy that makes learning fun, encouraging children to reach and grasp the shapes, putting them inside the jar and taking them out again, which helps them to develop hand-eye coordination. The toy also helps children learn about numbers. 

How we chose our recommendations

When compiling our list of recommendations, our trusted and experienced parenting journalists spend hours researching each category, using a variety of sources to evaluate which products are the best. Many of the recommendations for toys came from Mumsnet users themselves who’ve spent hours of their time putting the products through their paces in everyday situations.  

We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which toys Mumsnetters really rated and then researched expert review sites and retailers, such as Argos, Amazon and Smyths, to help us whittle down our list of tried-and-tested products. During our research, we vetted each toy, considering the quality, safety, value for money, extra features and material to ensure they performed well across the board.

Why you should trust us 

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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